Monday, February 14

The final short track race of 2011... meh

Last short track race of the year. In a perhaps not so smart move I jumped up two teeth from a 32X18 to a 38X19. Last time I tried something like that was back 2006 when I was racing with a broken rib. This time?

After a few warm up laps, I knew what I needed to do this time. The start line was moved from the top of a sidewalk downhill to an uphill grade in a parking lot. I needed to make sure I didn't get behind the guy that creates the division between the fasties and the others in the woods. Instead of warming up by riding in circles I waited at the entrance to the start gate like a buzzard waiting in anticipation for an animal to die. I wanted to be in the front row so I could get into the woods in the top three staying ahead of the gap that was sure to form once we hit the singletrack.

As we were minutes away from the start, I heard a clunk, junk, pop, smash about ten yards away from me. One of the Expert/Sport women who would start a minute behind the SS class had shifted her chain up into her spokes. She didn't look like she completely knew how to address the situation quickly, so upon noticing no one else noticing her dilemma, I went over to help.

Her chain was all up in it. Wrapped around pins behind the cassette, derailleur pulled taught, spokes looking unhappy. As I worked the chain free I heard them call the SS racers to the line. I missed the call up, and there was still a broken spoke that was flopping about, so I twisted it all up and took my place in the second row.

Not only was I in the second row, but I was also behind the guy that usually causes the split in the woods.

photo cred: Kangalangamangus

The start went total asses and elbows, and we only had probably about 30 seconds to sort things out. I tried to work my way through the field, but I entered the woods in sixth place... with the splitter in third. I watched as the top two riders (Sagur and Anderson) rode away from us, and there was nothing fourth, fifth, or my place could do about it.

At the exit of the woods we punched it on the gravel road to get around him. When we hit the grassy climb I hit it again just to give the big gear a try. I managed to get a gap, find the third place I wanted 4.something minutes ago, and then was slowly pulled back to fifth place.

photo cred: Lunchbox

Over the first few laps there was some actual racing, and I found myself in sixth place, but that was before Stauffer and Noel "The Killa Thrilla Gorilla" Kirila came up from behind and then made their way around me.

photo cred: Kangalangamangus

Twenty minutes in I hammered up the grassy climb, made it around them, and put some distance between us, but I couldn't hold onto the gap. They were all up in my shit again in a manner of minutes. As we made our way through the lapped field I had my worst concern come to fruition. Noel "The Killa Thrilla Gorilla" Kirila got around a lapped rider, but I couldn't get past her at the same point. When we hit the technical climb our pace slowed a bit too much, and I could no longer stay on top of my gear. I could not get around, and I stalled. I fell over in the rocks.

I held up Stauffer in the process, and as we exited the woods I promised to pull Noel "The Killa Thrilla Gorilla" Kirila back in the fold. When I launched after him, Stauffer did not follow. I was alone chasing a ghost for the final two laps.

photo cred: Kangalangamangus

Seventh place again, same as two weeks ago, but a fun battle nonetheless. That was the most "racing" race yet, and the only thing that woulda made it better would have been to lose a sprint finish to Noel "The Killa Thrilla Gorilla" Kirila by a half wheel.

Maybe next year...

A big shout out to the folks at Bicycles East, and my teammates, Aaron, Tom, and Dave... not to mention Steffie for being out there every week cheering us on.